The refreshed 2022 Proton Saga was launched yesterday with several new features, but what was clearly missing was some kind of driver support. Yes, the national carmaker has extended availability stability control to the standard AT variant, but the entry-level sedan still lacks more advanced systems such as autonomous emergency braking – which its rival, the Perodua Beja, has had since 2020.
Asked about this during the event, Roslan Abdullah, Proton’s deputy CEO, acknowledged that the Peruvian had an advantage in terms of security – some Protons had and lost. The lack of AEB, he said, comes down to what customers want in a “value-added” item and willing to pay.
“If you want to add [AEB]You need to remove some other features to keep the price in balance, “said Roslan. “Our competitors may have it, so those customers want to get it [go buy their car]. But if the customer wants something more comfortable, [handling]Other things, they can come to us. “
In fact, Proton is happy to give up its reputation for security in order to provide other features that it believes buyers will want. These probably include the latest additions to the Saga, such as a bodykit, keyless entry, push-button start, automatic-folding door mirror and an external boot cover release – all limited to the new range-topping premium S variant.
The urge to appeal to customers is understandable. All of these features are actually popular with Malaysians, and it costs a lot more money to add them to a car that they weren’t originally designed (remember, Saga can find its roots in the 2008 model) when applied early in the development process. . And it’s true that the Saga is more comfortable than a badger, with better handling for boots.
But we also know that Malaysian buyers will pay more for security – for a rational, left-brained car maker like Peruvia, enough to fit AEB in all cases except the base variant of Myvi. And it’s not just the cheap-like-chip saga that’s been affected by Proton’s current strategy – not available with the big, expensive Iriz and Persona AEB, although they did get their own significant facelift last year.
Even in the X50 and X70 SUVs, which compete in the less cost-sensitive segments, the system is only fitted to the expensive range-topping variants, which cost more than RM100,000. In contrast, the Perodua Ativa has AEB as standard and that car starts at RM61,500.
The message that Proton is sending is simple – vote with your wallet. Buy enough cars with AEB and other advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) and the company will have no choice but to give.
Gallery: 2022 Proton Saga 1.3L Premium S